Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi curriculum blamed for breeding hatred

The Saudi curriculum is mainly responsible for breeding hatred towards non-Muslims, said many participants at the ongoing Fifth National Dialogue Forum.

  • By Mariam Al Hakeem, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 December 15, 2005
  • Gulf News

Riyadh: The Saudi curriculum is mainly responsible for breeding hatred towards non-Muslims, said many participants at the ongoing Fifth National Dialogue Forum.

They find fault with advocating a single school of thought that creates wrong notions among the younger generation.

The three-day forum Us and Others: A National Vision for Interacting with International Cultures which began in the Saudi city of Abha, will conclude today.

More than 70 participants including Saudi male and female intellectuals, academics and writers representing various schools of thought debated a wide variety of issues, ranging from the treatment of Saudis to non-Saudis and non-Muslims to the Sunni-Shiite relationship.

The discussions mainly focused on the religious point of view, focusing on Islam's position toward other cultures, and importance of accepting diversity of cultures.

During the opening session, Saleh Al Hussain, president of the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, said: "In case of dealing with non-Muslims, Islam requires both justice and sympathy. And when it comes to Muslims' relations with fellow Muslims, the relation must be based on loyalty to Islam and governed by a bond of brotherhood."

Participating in the discussion, Dr Sahl Bin Abdul Aziz, an expert from King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, said it is strange that "we are not taking advantage of the West in dealing with others.

"Why don't we respect others just like the Westerners. It is unfortunate that some of us are hesitating to greet non-Muslims."

For the first time since the First National Dialogue was held in Riyadh in 2003, the event was broadcast live on Saudi state television.

Many Arab expatriates were surprised to see participants expressing views frankly.

Dr Dalal Aziz criticised the arrogance in the treatment of some Saudis toward expatriates or non-Saudis or even to Saudis from outside.

"We have to recognise the reality and get rid of our superiority complex and humiliating of other nationals," she said.

Dr Hind Bint Turky Al Sudairy said: "It is imperative for us to return to the Quran by giving respect to other schools of thought."

Engineer Hussain Bin Ali Al Bayyat called for the introducing of Shiite jurisprudence as a subject at the schools in Qateef region where the majority of people are Shiites.

"It is unfair to teach them jurisprudence belonging to another school of thought," he said, urging to set up a Shiite Fiqh Academy there.

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